A digital rights organisation, Paradigm Initiative, on Tuesday said it has written to the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, demanding compensation for a Nigerian, whose passport page was posted online.
Jeffery Ewohime had his passport page made public following an allegation that he destroyed Nigeria’s diplomatic vehicles in London last month.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Ewohime allegedly destroyed properties, mainly cars, at the Nigerian Embassy in London.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman, Nigerians In the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), condemned the attitude of the 32-year old Nigerian.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said such an attitude was unpatriotic and an act of indiscipline.
Paradigm Initiative in its letter said it is not “touching on the separate issue of the vandalization allegation against Mr Ewohime Jeffrey Apkovweta,” but is “holding Nigerian Immigration accountable for violating the data privacy rights of the citizen by publicly displaying his international passport page, containing personally identifiable information, on social media.”
The organisation is also demanding N10 million compensation for the man.
Adeboye Adegoke, Program Manager for Anglophone West Africa at Paradigm Initiative, said ‘’the organisation is appalled by the absolute disregard that many government agencies display towards the personal information, including biometric data of citizens in their custody. Despite the fact that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) came out with Data Protection Guidelines for Nigeria, agencies of government and private organizations continue to treat privacy and confidentiality of citizens’ data with levity.”
“Irrespective of the allegations against the citizen, Nigeria Immigration had no right to violate his constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy,” he added.
NITDA’s Data Privacy Guidelines prescribes minimum data protection standards for all organisations or persons that control, collect, store or process personal data of Nigerian residents and citizens within and outside Nigeria. The scope of persons who are bound by the NITDA Guidelines is specified in Section 1.3 of the guidelines:
“These guidelines are mandatory for Federal, State and Local Government Agencies and institutions as well as other organizations which own, use or deploy information systems within the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he added.
“Section 1.4 of the Guidelines further confirms that ‘the Data Protection Guidelines shall apply to all data controllers in public and private sector as defined in the guidelines’. It also applies to foreign organisations that process personal data of Nigerian citizens,” the statement said.
Tope Ogundipe, the organisation’s Director of Programs, stated that the letter to Nigeria Immigration was written in accordance with section 109 of the Immigration Act requiring a 30-day pre-action notice to state that the Immigration Services pay the citizen a sum of 10,000,000 only as compensation for the citizen.
If the immigration service fails to act on the letter, he added, the organisation will institute a legal action to achieve its objective and other concerns.